Recognition of Healing

This is the third part in a series that began with “God’s Abundance or My Scarcity” and continues with “To Trust or Worry.” Thank you for joining during this busy time of year!

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I sat with two long-time friends in the surgical waiting room earlier this week as a third friend underwent surgery to remove a cancerous kidney. She’d just lost her husband about two months ago, and the worry on her son’s face reflected his fear that mom might be next, all too soon. As I sat, my mind and emotions occasionally drifted to another cancer surgery about eleven years ago that didn’t end well, and I prayed for her restoration.

The three of us women chatted quietly, enjoying one another’s company. Every once in a while one of us looked over at Mike, and then at the clock as time ticked hour past hour, concern etching more than his face. Finally the surgeon arrived and gratefully reported  her cancer seemed contained and she’d taken the surgery well. Mike’s countenance brightened, and our hearts lightened.

I told my friend I’d greet her after surgery, so after my companions left, Mike and I began to converse softly, moving time more quickly from recovery to a welcome glance at her face.

Finally we heard, “You can go see your mom. Her room is on the sixth floor.” The sixth floor…where I met my husband’s co-workers as they shared with me fond memories of years working with him. The sixth floor…where I waited to hear Norman’s last breath. The sixth floor…where I nestled next to Norman for the last time. I hated the sixth floor. Yet, that was where my friend waited for me.

As I stepped off the elevator, sadness seeped into my soul as I turned and faced the well-known small suite to the left of the elevator and across the hall. I stood in the middle of the hallway and stared into the room. My eyes immediately noted a man bent over, familiar lines etching his face as he sat quietly in that chair, leaning his weary head on one arm. The otherwise dimmed room was lit by only one lamp casting a spotlight on his bent forehead. I remembered. And inside I wept once more.

Only this time the sadness didn’t overwhelm, and I realized the healing God has performed over time. It’s too easy to assume healing does eventually occur. Yet, my healing has been long delayed. Only a couple of years ago, during visit to the sixth floor, I needed to leave after about 45 minutes, too overwhelmed with emotion to stay.

Only a year ago, the thought of visiting a friend with cancer was more than I could bear.

I don’t take God’s abundant gift of healing lightly. I’m very grateful. And today, I learned my friend’s stage one cancer was contained and so she’ll need no chemo. And I thank God.

I'm grateful for God's abundance in the face of my scarcity. Click To Tweet

As I faced my friend’s cancer surgery this week, I also remembered past Christmases filled with pain as I wondered what the next year would bring. If this is one of those Christmases for you, I’m so sorry.

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May I also pray for you? 

Lord, we so long for this time of year to be carefree and beautiful. We long to hear the angels sing of a newborn king. We long to feel the warmth of making family memories. We long for our stories to replicate Hallmark. But life isn’t that way. For most of us. Yet, each of us are too afraid to speak out from the depths of our sorrows for fear we’ll upset someone else’s Merry Christmas. May this place, this moment, feel safe for others to grieve their pain.

Help us Lord Jesus to remember that your first Christmas was full of labor pains, rejected families, and outcast shepherds. Click To Tweet May we remember you came for such as us. And today let us embrace your abundance, in the middle of our cancer surgeries, and memories that make us sick inside, and the worries that news may not be so good. Jesus, help us remember that you are 'Emmanuel' God with us. You do care. And if we invite you in, we don't have to face this season, or any season alone. Click To Tweet

Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3 (NASB)

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19 (NLT)

With tender love,

Robin <3

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Overcoming Fear

Week One, “Overcoming Fear”

Unfortunately struggles are a part of life. However, God promises to be bigger than both our struggles and the fears they elicit. The past year has been a time for me of letting God show himself bigger in dealing with fears that had “taken up residence”.

Please join me in this new series “Overcoming Fear” and my new adventure in video – let me know what you think (other than the opening shot – how embarrassing). I don’t know what happened in the editing, but it took me a while to get the video this far as I’m video illiterate. If you can get beyond the opening face – I think you will enjoy the remainder.

 

If you’d be interested in reading more about what God has done, please check out: “Introducing Me” https://rlseaton.com/introducing-me

I sought the Lord,and He answered meand delivered mefrom all my fears.

Grateful God is so much bigger, and grateful for you!

Robin <3

 

 

 

A Fresh Look at My Role in Christianity

Week 4, Part 4 in the Series: “Christianity From a Fresh Perspective”

 

Jesus,Please give me the ability to see you through childlike eyes, full of wonder. Help me to recognize your lavish kindness toward me; and bend my knee to you who are the only source o

What if I daily treated Jesus as the most important person in the world? What if I believed my relationship with him through prayer, Bible reading, and worship was the most important thing I could do all day? What would happen if I took what precious little time I have in a day and gave some of it to him as a gift? What if I stopped trying to gain more knowledge, or buy his favor, and just enjoyed him?

How would my life change if as I read his Word, I asked Jesus to show me:

  • Who He, the Father, and the Spirit really are – not just who I think they are.
  • His power for my life – what that looks like today, not just 2000 years ago.
  • His promises and gifts – and how he intends they are to impact my life and the lives of those I love.
  • How he longs to convict, lead, and comfort me in my current circumstances.

How would my life and the lives around me change if when I prayed I first asked how he would have me pray for my needs, my circumstances, and the needs of those around me?

What if I asked him to show me how he blesses my life – to open my eyes to the daily gifts I don’t see. And what if I then took time to thank him, and recount those gifts to him often?

What would happen if I had the boldness to make these requests:

  • This situation______________________is way beyond me. Please show me your power.
  • I feel hopeless, please show me your love and goodness.
  • I can’t change, please change me!
  • I’m not even sure you exist – if you are real, show me!

What if I then trusted God to come through? What if I then chose to yield to Him and let go of my control?

I know what would happen – my life would change. Because I would be asking the only One able to change my life to do so, and then let him do it.

What if then I asked for the boldness to tell someone else what I’ve seen and heard? How would that change my world?

I know the answer to that as well – by the power and love of Jesus Christ through us, the world would slowly change, one person at a time.

I know, because I have seen and and heard and can testify – that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and he has not only the power, but the desire to change lives and set captives free. He’s doing so for me and for many around me daily. (I John 1:3 NLT)

This song beautifully portraits our role in Christianity –

Ashes Remain, “All Of Me”

With great longing for the Giver of the gospel,

Robin <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fresh Look At A Relationship With Jesus

WEEK THREE OF FIVE IN “CHRISTIANITY FROM A FRESH PERSPECTIVE”

Jesus,Please give me the ability to see you through childlike eyes, full of wonder. Help me to recognize your lavish kindness toward me; and bend my knee to you who are the only source o

Jesus is light and life, lavishing gifts on those who seek him, opening blind eyes and setting captives free! (John 1, Luke 4) Yet only only 4 years ago I heard for the first time

“When you choose to follow Jesus, He’ll change your life. Expect it.”

With all my years in church, why had I never heard such bold statements?

I spoke with a fellow believer not long ago, telling her what I’m seeing and hearing as men and women’s lives are being changed by the power of the gospel at the church I now attend. She stated, “Wow, I’m so glad people are turning their lives around.” I was stunned as I realized she and I had totally missed the point.

Before these life-giving words, I expected when someone met Jesus, He would give them a new heart. What that meant was, they would now want to please God, and so would make every effort to do so. It never occurred to me the gospel taught otherwise, and meant so much more.

The focus of my Christian walk used to answer the following questions:

  • What am I to do to follow Jesus?
  • What am I to give in devotion to Jesus?
  • What am I to believe? (Studying the Bible for how I’m to live.)
  • How do I please God, for all Christ has done for me?

These questions aren’t wrong, and are necessary to ask. But notice all the “I’s“? When the focus of my Christian walk is on “me” and what I bring to Christ, rather than on Jesus, I lose sight of the wonder, awe, and power of the gospel to change lives.

With that single statement four years ago, my focus slowly began to change as I realized

The gospel isn’t about what I can give Jesus. It’s about who Jesus is and all He’s given me!

  • Here is a glimpse of all Jesus gives those who truly seek him:
  • His life, no matter the cost. (Romans 5:6-9 NIV)
  • His love, no matter who I am. (Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV)
  • His power to transform my life, no matter my past. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
  • His forgiveness, no matter how I fail. (1 John 1:9)
  • His Spirit, filling me with power to change, no matter how unable I am to change on my own. (Romans 8:11 NLT)
  • His Word to nourish, guide, and correct, no matter how dark life is around me. (Deuteronomy 8:3, Psalm 119:105, Hebrews 4:12)
  • His promises to sustain me and rescue me from the world’s destruction, no matter how I’ve messed things up. (2 Peter 1:4)
  • His adoption, granting me a new family, no matter my biological roots. (Romans 8:15)
  • His hope for a new future, no matter what my current circumstances. (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28)
  • His forever home where there will be no more tears, no matter what life is like now. (Luke 23:32-43)

It’s really all about Jesus.

What is my part? Allow him this work. Embrace Him. Yield to Him. Trust him, no matter how hard life may be at times. Rest in who he is, knowing he is as powerful and loving as he claimed.

With gratitude for the power of the gospel,

Robin <3

Christianity From a Fresh Perspective

 

NEW SERIES, WEEK ONE OF FIVE

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I’m one of those Christians who used to focus all my efforts on, “To be a ‘good Christian’ there are certain things I must regularly check off my list to please God”.

I know I was saved by the blood of Christ because of God’s amazing grace, and so didn’t earn my salvation. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Jesus, so I serve him daily, motivated by love and gratitude. Yet for too long, I thought my service was that which either garnered God’s greatest love, or in those moments I failed, his disaporoval. I never considered He’d throw me out of heaven, mind you. Jesus paid for my salvation. But because I didn’t realize the depth of love that drew me, nor the power Christ holds to keep me, I believed the lie that I had to perform to please.

My “necessary” list wasn’t long, and not “legalistic” in my mind. After all, my list included only those things Jesus said I needed to do. “I must have a quiet time; I must pray; I should share my faith regularly. I need to go to church; I need to love my neighbor.” I generally enjoy these activities very much, but when I failed to do them – GUILT attacked because I lived under a false perception of God.

There is truth to my basic assumptions, as God does state clearly many times in his Word “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) He also states that we are to set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2) Yet, as I grow in my relationship with Jesus, I’m learning the key to my richest life in Christ comes when my focus shifts from what I devote to him to who he is and what he’s done.

I’m discovering the greatest joy in my walk with Christ comes as I grow in intimacy with him. My obedience then flows out of doing those things that allow me the greatest opportunity to know him fully, rather than coming from my fear of displeasing him.

This seems like a small shift in perspective, only mincing words, but I’m finding the reality, played out, leads to quite a dramatic change in the outcome.

As I look at the moral crisis in America, along with the decline in many aspects of the church in America, I’m confident if that seemingly small shift in perception were corrected and acted upon, the church would meet that crisis head on and make a dramatic difference.

Over the next 5 weeks, I’d like to take the opportunity to look at various aspects of the Christian walk from a fresh perspective in the hopes that, as believers who love and follow Jesus, we will come away with renewed hope that the church can and will change the world. Will you join me?

September 6: “A Fresh Look at Jesus”

September 13: “A Fresh Look at My Relationship With Jesus”

September 20: “A Fresh Look at Daily Devotion”

September 27: “A Fresh Look at Worship”

I’d like to end by introducing a song I recently heard for the first time, entitled “The Gospel” by Ryan Stevenson. The cry of my heart in this series is for God’s people to be reintroduced to the Lover of Their Souls, and the Power that raises the dead and makes blind eyes see. Please join me, for I believe the gospel of Jesus proclaimed through His church is still the only answer. It’s the only remedy to the crisis we find ourselves in.

With greatest hope because of the Gospel,

Robin <3

 

 

Cleaning Up the Debris…

Week 4, “Tearing Down Lies”

Second of 2 Parts dealing with STD’s and Pornography

When Gary and I were dating, our choice to live apart and abstain from sex until after marriage garnered questions from more than one stranger. Often the conversation would begin with an innocent question such as, “What will you be doing this weekend?”

During that time I loved the challenge this question brought to the table! My eyes would twinkle as I’d respond, “My fiance is driving up for the day, and we are….(fill in the blank with “going to the beach”, “going to the park”, or whatever we were planning).”

Their startled reaction invariably went something like this: “You mean you don’t live together? But you do sleep together, don’t you?” (Yes, total strangers would ask such questions!)

Since my response was, “No, we believe in waiting until after marriage for that.”  The final question would be, “Well, then how will you know…uh…if…uh…things…you know…will work fine between you?”

It brought me pleasure to state truthfully I wasn’t worried, because we serve a big God. Since he brought us together, he would take care of that as well.

On one occasion, as a young man from the car rental agency ferried me from the rental place to my vehicle, we had the above conversation.  But because of time, I was able to also share the beauty of knowing my fiance waited for me, even after having been sexually active 25 years in his prior marriage.  Adding, I was so important he’d willingly forgo his own pleasure to wait until we’d fully committed ourselves before God and friends in marriage made me feel very special.  I shared how that willingness gave me a sense of security, knowing if he’d go that far, he’d also be less likely to cheat on me later if/when things got hard.  That young man having never thought of such things, said he found it important enough he needed to take time to contemplate my ideas further.

What Does the Bible Say?

19 Now, the effects of the corrupt nature are obvious: illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things. I’ve told you in the past and I’m telling you again that people who do these kinds of things will not inherit God’s kingdom. Galatians 5:19-21 (GW)

18 Stay away from sexual sins. Other sins that people commit don’t affect their bodies the same way sexual sins do. People who sin sexually sin against their own bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:18 (GW)

21 I’m afraid that when I come to you again, my God may humble me. I may have to grieve over many who formerly led sinful lives and have not changed the way they think and act about the perversion, sexual sins, and promiscuity in which they have been involved. 2 Corinthians 12:21 (GW)

But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28 (NLT)

What Should Be Our Response?

As the body of Christ, we have an awesome gift to offer the world.  Today’s culture has no idea they can wait, and that waiting can make for more healthy marriages later on. They’ve never heard that God’s laws regarding sex and marriage are for their own benefit, and that in abiding by them, they will less likely face STD’s, the issues of pornographic addiction, and the heartbreak stemming from repeatedly giving yourself away intimately to those willing to take but never commit.

Rather than blush, thinking of abstinence as “archaic”, we can confidently share the beauty of waiting.  We can  live out the reality of marriage representing Christ and his church. Christ’s grand sacrificial love providing a home,  name,  and heritage to a bride so below him,  and a bride so in love she willingly saves herself for his return and their union. We can also share that within even this perfect union there are at times great struggles and conflicts as we grow in coming to know him more intimately, and as we wait for the full benefits of our relationship.  (Ephesians 5)

Will this still all the waves pounding at our culture? No,  but it will help strengthen two of its greatest foundations – marriage and family. It will also rescue some from being swept away by the pounding lies of our culture.

We as the hands and feet of Jesus have a responsibility to tell the truth, because the truth is what sets men free.

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

Harmless Ripples or a Devastating Tsunami?

Week 3 of “Tearing Down Lies”

One of my favorite activities when camping at the lake as a child was to skip stones.  The skill is two-fold. First you must find the flattest, smoothest stone. Then with a proper flick of the wrist, skim the stone across the top of the water at just the right angle. The goal is to have the stone “skip” as many times as possible.  I think my all time best was about 6 skips. My stones were small, and therefore the effects on the surrounding lake were harmless.

Very unlike skipping stones, on March 11, 2011, an earthquake rocked Japan, causing a massive tsunami. Over 18,000 people died, and the damage to their nuclear power industry was still being felt as late as 2016, 5 years after the disaster. The total effect on Japan was devastating, but there were smaller, less devastating effects from the shift of the earth’s plates from Norway to Antarctica. Extremely high waves swept one man out to sea, and damaged harbors and tourist areas along the West Coast of North America and Hawaii. Debris from the tsunami washed up on the shores of North America up to 2 years later according to Life Science.

Crashing Against the Walls of Our Culture…

As I watch our culture spin out of control, the above exemplify for me how we so often categorize behaviors and ideas as harmless as skipping stones when they are really far more devastating than the effects of an earthquake causing a tsunami.

Two such ideas are:

“What I do with my body is my business.  And what I do in the privacy of my home affects no one but me.”

Maybe we don’t realize the magnitude of the danger associated with “my private business” because we minimize the importance of our actions, and the lasting effects on those around us.

Some of the debris washing up on shore from these tsunamis are:

STD’s…

Our children used to be taught engaging in sex outside of a committed marriage would cause great harm. Now they are taught that engaging in sex is their “right”, and a necessity in dealing with their urges. They aren’t warned that in spite of “safe sex” they are at a very high risk for STD’s.

According to the CDC, more than half of all STD’s are now contracted by our 15-24 year old children.  The CDC considers it such a threat, their website opens with banners stating that Gonorrhea is becoming resistant to drugs, and Syphilis is on the rise at alarming rates. They estimate 2.86 million cases of chlamydia and 820,000 cases of gonorrhea occur annually in the United States with 10-15% of these cases developing Pelvic Inflammatory disease and infertility. Most cases have no symptoms.

In 1960 there were only 2 STD’s and now there are 25, according to Dr. Ray Bohlin, siting statistics from data gathered by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health of Austin, Texas. His report sited that these diseases effect 5% of our population, with 63% of new infections effecting those under 25 years of age.

Pornography…

Our society teaches our young people that curiosity with pornography is normal.  They aren’t warned that pornography’s addictions feed a massive industry utilizing mainly women’s and children’s bodies to sell their product.

According to Safe Families, in 2003 there were 1.3 million pornographic websites comprising 260 million pagesThe total porn industry revenue for 2006: $13.3 billion in the United States; $97 billion worldwide.

According to Focus On the Family, recent statistics show teen addiction rates are absolutely staggeringMore than one in five children has access to pornographic websites. By college, 87 percent of men and 31 percent of women view pornography on a regular basis. And, close to half of American households have reported pornography is a problem in their homes.

What’s the big deal?  Pornography relegates sexual “intimacy” to a one sided fantasy with the page or photo becoming the partner.  That photo never say “no”.  It always smiles. It always agrees. It never feels pain, remorse, or rejection. Therefore, one living out their fantasies with porn develop false ideas of what sex should be and how a sexual partner thinks and behaves. Again, according to Focus On the Family, women become “objects” without feelings, a “sport” to be won and conquered, and a “commodity” that can be bought and sold.

The effects of pornography on our society are staggering! It is a major factor in the growing sex trade in the US. It also factors in the rise of STD’s, along with the destruction of marriage and the family. Not to minimalized, it also contributes to the rising medical costs associated with all of this.

The Truth…..

Everyone is effected by choices made in private.  And, the effects of those private choices will be felt for generations.

The Church…

So, what can we as the church in America do about it? We will continue this discussion next week,  but for now:

  • Remember that behind each statistic is the name of someone’s daughter, son, or parent. Pray for these torn families.
  • Consider your own private choices, and how they are affecting others.
  • Talk with your children about their private choices.
  • Don’t use this opportunity to begin pointing fingers, for the Lord God looks to us first.

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

“Father, I see the devastation all around me, and I often blame society, the schools, or anyone but me. Forgive me. Give me a heart to shine your pure light, and flavor my world with pure salt, mingled with extravagant love.  Thank you.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

With love and prayers,

Robin <3